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Who Says He Can’t Articulate?

Little Man has this thing about making paper boxes. He’s been at it all school year. I am gifted with two or three a week. They’re pretty ingenious, and they keep his hands occupied (a calming technique for him). Yesterday, he got into the car after school, holding a Ziploc bag with four paper boxes. Each box was a different color/design. He was smiling proudly as he announced there was one for each of us (Daddy, me, Big Man and the Princess). Inside each box was a note.

I couldn’t open my box until we got home (hello – responsible driver!). Even then, scissors had to be involved. When I read my note, I immediately started to cry. You’ll see why…..


It reads, “Dear Mom, Thank you for helping me when I need help, for showing me hope when I thought I had none, for inspiring me in many ways, and for helping me calm down when I couldn’t control my emotions. Love, Little Man”

Two years ago, this would have been impossible. He didn’t have the words. Oh, his vocabulary is amazing, but pragmatics are his weakness so he couldn’t articulate any of this.

This note came the day after he was up until after 11pm, crying for an hour with anxiety. Yesterday, he had an oral presentation in class on his Mission Project (at our school, fourth graders do a report and a project on a California Mission). Tuesday night he was stressed out with anxiety over the presentation. It took a lot of holding and talking to get him calmed down. He had worked so hard on his project but he was terrified he was going to fall apart while speaking in front of his class. I told him everyone is nervous when they have to speak in front of a group of people. I reminded him he has good friends in his class, and a few in particular he could look at if he found himself getting overwhelmed. Whatever he ended up doing, it worked. He survived. The boxes were made and the notes were written afterwards.

I love all my children so much. But watching this one….there are so many painful moments, so many times I ache with hurt and fear for him. When we have our bright moments, I stare at him in awe and wonder. Those breakthroughs are simply amazing. This note, though….he is seeing and hearing, and he is getting it.

I don’t know what his notes to his brother and sister read. In his note to his dad, he thanked dad for helping him with his project, and outlined a new project he wants to do with him. It made my husband so happy. There were a lot of smiles last night.

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